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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 29, 2011 2:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

So here's a question for those of you with better memories than yours truly. It comes out of the TOO > MAMU thread, but it's not about the validity of one person's stated recollections. If anything, it's about the validity (or clueless nature) of my own. And I'm interested in history and memory -- plus, well, pointless gossip is always fun -- so I'll just ask.

It seems I often run into reviews where folks say they saw Pigpen or Phil or whoever down a case of beer on stage, or somebody in the band take a hit off a joint, or nitrous on stage at the Raven Space show, or whatever.

Now, I didn't go to hundreds of shows, but I went to a fair enough number. And I don't ever remember seeing anything of the sort. Of course, when it comes to any one particular show, I also tend not to remember anything more than snippets ... say, part of a Wharf Rat or dancing to Deal ... and it's a pretty good bet there was more to the show than two songs! So maybe it's just my bad memory.

I mean, there'd be rumors or speculation. But I never actually SAW anything in particular -- on stage, that is, in the public space. (Backstage, well, I never saw anything there, either, cuz I never WENT backstage :-))

So, was I just oblivious? If I assumed something in a cup on stage was water, and that when Jerry bent over with his back to the audience he was doing something guitar player-ish and probably related to his amp or strings or something, was that totally naive? I'm wondering about the extent to which the band pushed the envelope in public with drinking or other substances (or didn't, but were imagined to do that by an audience susceptible to thinking that way), and/or the extent to which I was clueless or have a memory that's partly jello and partly swiss cheese.

As far as I recall, they just stood there and played. And tuned a lot. But it's been a long time -- and I dunno, maybe I just didn't pay attention or didn't have any "seats with a view." So what do folks recall? What are your most surprising, revealing or memorable recollections of moments observed?



This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-29 09:02:29

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Aug 29, 2011 7:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

At that 2/26/77 Swing show, I remember there being Heineken bottles on top the various amps etc. Phil looked a little unsteady ( played fine ), and Donna was more rubbery than I ever saw her , but can't say she was drunk .

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Aug 29, 2011 11:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

I never saw any open drug use but that doesn't mean anything. But EVERY show I saw Garcia had a few puffs of a smoke between almost every song. Nothing ocassional about it. And once I saw Brent kind of out of it get up and go back stage in the middle of the song. He trotted back.Not sure if he went for that reason but he did seem more into it when he returned.

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Aug 29, 2011 12:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

At the Greek Theater, either 84 or 85, we were front row Phils side and these pot growing hippys threw a T-shirt with some of their prime herb rolled in up in it at Phil's feet. The T had their "brand name" on it along with some groovy art work...Phil picked it up and realized what was in it, he put the shirt down near his rig and continued playing. The next show he was wearing the T-shirt for all to see...and the assumption was that he sampled the goods first. Those were some happy hippys that show.

I saw Bobby drinking red wine at the Greek Theater shows as well, on stage. NYE 1981 Jerry was higher than me (and that was saying a lot) the look on his face during the Dark Star set was unforgetable! Grinding his jaw back and forth...he looked possesed.

At my first JGB show Billy was drumming and he had a big ice bucket full of beers right next to the kit...I saw him slurp down quite a few of them.

My bong got spilled on the stage at the '82 Frost shows, damn beach balls. Bobby had to step out of the way as the putrid liquid headed his way...made quite a stink in the hot sun. Front row at general admission shows was just too much fun.

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Poster: Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer Date: Aug 29, 2011 5:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

Distinctly remember Phil taking a few long tokes (I dont think he smokes cigarettes) right before he comes out to take his place in space at the 11/1/85 Richmond show. If I remember it was a kinda short once he arrived and went into Saint - which he seemed fired up to get going. At that point I was behind stage on Phil side.

Only time I ever saw that type of thing. Always wondered what was going down in the cubbie holes they had back stage.

I think they obviously did what they wanted or needed to get done before they came to the stage area. I know there is some infamous footage of some back stage stuff with Jerry carrying a covered tray and cursing at the camera.

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 29, 2011 5:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

know where this footage is at?

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Poster: fenario80 Date: Aug 29, 2011 10:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

- I was at 04/18/82 (Hartford, night before Baltimore) for the earthquake space and while I was not close enough to see what was going on, those who were reported that the nitrous tanks were more or less in plain view ...

- after suffering dance, dance fever for two nights 05/06 and 05/08/81, we decided to sit out 05/09 in the big and mostly empty section behind the stage at the Nassau Coliseum, thus having a great bird's-eye view of Ken Kesey's bizarro harmonica performance. That's all we saw though ...

- non-Dead - which is more than I can say for the time we decided to sit side stage for the Kinks in Providence in 1980 or so. We sat stage right, Ray Davies' side, and he had a small curtained area set up just off the stage in back, almost like a shower stall, and he was in and out of that thing all night long. When he was in, the curtains would close and we could see the flash of a lighter or blowtorch, and a minute or so later he would come bouncing back out. Weirdly what I remember best are his shoes: he was wearing a two piece suit with high-top basketball shoes and it appeared that his feet never once stoppped moving, not even in the "freebase shower room."

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 29, 2011 7:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

I was at the Raven Space one in Baltimore and didn't see anything, either. But I've read or heard somewhere (reviews or something, or maybe talk at the time, who knows) that the band was doing nitrous on stage, but of course I just saw guys standing there playing. Maybe people with the right view caught a glimpse and rumors spread. Or it's just b.s. Certainly there's that scene of nitrous in the Grateful Dead movie, and Rock Scully talks about tanks in his book, so it's not like I'd doubt it could have been there ... but on stage? OK, phew, I wasn't just oblivious :-)

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 29, 2011 10:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

I was at that Hartford show but again, way too far away to have any idea what they were doing onstage.

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Poster: Capt. Cook Date: Aug 29, 2011 6:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

They had these cool little cubby holes they would build out of the road cases and amps and the band would sit down during the drum sections in these littles areas - hanging out with the roadies and family members and you could see Jerry smoking up a storm - little fashes of light - got 17,000 people staring at you remember - always wondered what was "really" happening in those little dark spaces behind the Beam and the Monster....

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Poster: Capt. Cook Date: Aug 29, 2011 5:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

I went to a good sized number of shows in the Brent-era and yea, they seemed pretty business-like to me. I sat first row at times and also behind the drums alot in the big hockey rinks where you could see pretty good what was happening backstage - a real fun place to view a show from I always thought - and no - there was no 6-foot bongs, or bottles of Jack on Jerry's set-up. I did see a fairly large fire they set one night right behind the drums to tune mickey's tar - the wild shit happened mostly during the drums/space! but I think the drugs were pretty low-key as fair as being in the open.

Now, I saw a Van Morrison show where the poor guy was so drunk he could barely play his sax! Oy-vee...

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Aug 29, 2011 12:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

That's amazing because I too saw Van Morrison so drunk we got our money back. Quite a few weeks before this show I saw him at a club somewhere in the woods of Marin County called Rancho Naciso. Huey Lewis and The News opened for him before they hit big and they were both fantastic this night,so much so I had to see Van the Man again. This time was at the Great American Music Hall in S.F.and was so obviously drunk that I went to the manager and got our money back.This was the first and only time I ever demanded money back but it was so painfully obvious that mngmt agreed w/ me.About seeing the Dead do anything drug or drink wise on stage I can truthfully say I never saw it. I did see at a Tuna free gig in Vicente Park the guys openly drinking Taquila and beer.

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Aug 29, 2011 1:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

deleted double post

This post was modified by Little Sense on 2011-08-29 20:06:38

This post was modified by Little Sense on 2011-08-29 20:07:08

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Aug 29, 2011 6:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

The few shows i went to were completely uneventful on stage. The only thing i remember was at 7-16-90, Brent was on fire and Jerry seemed to acknowledge this a few times by looking over at him as smiling. Other than that, a bunch of statues on stage playing their instruments. I find this is true of any videos I watch of the band as well. Seems to me the more colorful scenes in the The Grateful Dead Movie are in the crowd not on stage. The only video I own is the Egypt '78 DVD and I never watched the whole thing. Too boring. I find that I can listen to music while working, driving, dog walking or cooking etc., but watching video requires undivided attention and since nothing is happening on stage i find it very boring and often sleep-inducing. Funny to have two completely different reactions to the music, which never puts me to sleep and the video.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 29, 2011 5:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

Very bizness like when I saw them...absolutely boring; really. I'd have loved to see any of them "do" anything...liven it up, etc. Did always see Jerry's smokes somewhere close, but not in his pocket.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 29, 2011 8:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

I think the band did what they needed to do BEFORE they went on-stage... (After all, that's partly what the set-break was for!)
Of course, there were occasions when Jerry just couldn't wait and lit up a cigarette between songs. (What's the show where Weir rags him about it?)
Maybe Phil drank onstage sometimes, but I'd guess that was mostly kept backstage as well. At the most, he'd just come on already drunk!
Since hardly anyone here saw Pigpen, it's harder to say - I'd assume it would be easy for him to keep some booze by the organ, especially during long periods of the shows when he wasn't playing.... Then again, maybe the others frowned on that. He, of course, was free to wander offstage during the show during '69-71, when he wasn't playing very much.

Though there were times in the early days where the band might've had a bit TOO much LSD before the show, over time, they were professional enough to adjust themselves just right before they came on. The one main exception I remember is 2/7/79, where Parrish said Jerry downed some valium before he came on. Our SBD is (fortunately perhaps) incomplete - the show starts off very sprightly, but by Stagger Lee & Dancin' you can tell something's going very wrong with Jerry!
And of course there were other times when Jerry came on very ill, but not drug-related...

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 29, 2011 9:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

I think I know which one you are talking about. Its fall 77 if I recall correctly. Bob remarks as to how jerry always lights up a cigarette at the worst times, or something to that effect. I believe its also the same show where bobby has everyone make their favorite animal noise, followed by phil asking everyone to make their favorite people noises. Post Candyman me thinks... Great banter

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Poster: Jim F Date: Aug 31, 2011 12:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

10/14/77 is the one that has Bob talking about Jerry's smoke break and life being an "eternal jones" for the smoker of the "evil weed tobacco." Phil says something about how they should make a cigarette that goes out after one puff. And the animal/people noise stuff, of course.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 31, 2011 12:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

Yes, that's the one. I didn't realize until seeing some of the comments here that Jerry smoked like a chimney onstage as well as off. Ah well, moderation was not his thing...

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 29, 2011 11:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Song--smoke/break--song--smoke/break/tune

He often smoked non-stop in my shows; he would finish two packs of Camels easily. Esp in JGB shows where it was more "bar atmosphere" (like Keystone, etc). During any tuning break, which was often between every song in the 70s, he'd light up then, and be done by the song starting.

I often thought this was why they took so long between songs...

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Poster: Jim F Date: Aug 31, 2011 10:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Song--smoke/break--song--smoke/break/tune

I'd always heard and thought of Jerry as being one of those musicians who would light a whole lot of cigarettes, but barely wind up smoking much of them.

I knew this one local guitar player who was a real expert at smoking while playing. It was almost entertaining to watch, a true master of the art of picking and singing and he could hold the thing in his pick hand, and still manage to get puffs in while playing and singing, without missing a note. Some guys just light one, take a few puffs, then it gets put on an amp or in their guitar string and it just kinda gets forgotten about because they're too busy playing. Not this guy, he was a pro.

Anyway I'd say that generally the GD and especially JGB show format with lots of tuning breaks (moreso in the earlier years) made it pretty easy to get in a couple puffs between most songs.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 1, 2011 6:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Song--smoke/break--song--smoke/break/tune

Yeah, he was most active during the breaks, and often stopped as he started playing, whether finished or not...he did sometimes stick it in the neck of the guitar, like you see so many do, but rarely did he or those guys end up being able to retrieve it during the song, IMHO. And, he didn't seem to go for the corner of the mouth dangle approach either.

BTW, I think you might want to re-examine your post (re: "boobs") as it was posted under the "wrong" poster, methinks? A very nice gal, as it turns out.

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Poster: Jim F Date: Sep 2, 2011 10:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Song--smoke/break--song--smoke/break/tune

Ha thanks, but we sorted it out (re:"boobs"). I was totally kidding, was making a sortof statement/joke about her original comment about the macho jock stuff you find on most message boards. I totally have nothing but respect for miss Rose! I'm no chauvanist jock ass by any means.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 2, 2011 11:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Song--smoke/break--song--smoke/break/tune

Gotcha....the joke didn't occur to me, but was funny in a crude way, as in mimicry of the prior poster, etc.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Aug 29, 2011 9:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

Not much to report from my experiences either. When I went to a show in the 80's and 90's it was just assumed that if you wanted to see unusual things, you'd have to look at the people around you instead of onstage. A couple of examples of stuff I witnessed include the dude hanging off a balcony at SPAC and the one who decided he was Sir Edmund Hillary at Red Rocks. Kind of explained why the crowd would go ballastic when even the most minor thing happened on stage other than Playing/Tuning/Smoking. Did you ever notice that the occasional feedback was almost always met with a greater crowd response than, say, MAMU? Or when Jerry addressed the crowd directly the crowd acted like they were Moses and a clump of incendiary shrubbery had chosen to speak just to them? IE: Summer Solstice show at Shorline when, after a prolonged break while Bobby fiddled with his gear, Jerry said "Bobby's having some trouble with his stuff." Crowd went bonkers.

This post was modified by SomeDarkHollow on 2011-08-29 16:46:26

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 29, 2011 10:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

>Or when Jerry addressed the crowd directly the crowd acted like they were Moses and a clump of incendiary shrubbery had chosen to speak just to them? IE: Summer Solstice show at Shorline when, after a prolonged break while Bobby fiddled with his gear, Jerry said "Bobby's having some trouble with his stuff." Crowd went bonkers.


LOL! It really seems true that sometimes all he had to do was make any kind of small statement, no matter how trivial, and it was like a blessing had been handed down.

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 29, 2011 5:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

how about when Phil shuts down the rumor that hes quitting the band and then jerry replies, yea the rest of us are quitting to much applause. Until the stoners realize what he just said. Summer of 90, 6 something me thinks.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Aug 29, 2011 10:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

Which is one reason he stopped saying anything onstage...

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Aug 29, 2011 10:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

Can't blame him. Though I did hear they had developed an intricate series of hand signals to let the crew know when Jerry needed a Twinkie, but near the end the requests had become so frequent the crew decided to install monitors onstage that were supposedly to help Jerry with lyrics, but in fact showed a menu from the local Sonic.

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Poster: high flow Date: Aug 29, 2011 12:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

I thought those chicks on roller skates were just part of the Mardi Gras parade! Now I know......they were simply delivering some mini-corn dogs.

10/31/1992(JGB) Jerry said, "How y'all doin?". That is the most I ever heard him say in terms of stage banter. And yes, the crowd went bananas.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Aug 29, 2011 12:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

If I'm not mistaken, Jerry's midi system was not just a sound-modifying effect; it also linked directly to their drive-through system, using a digitized system that correlated notes played to the number of combo meals on the menu, which them prompted the roller-skaters.

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Poster: high flow Date: Aug 29, 2011 12:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

This explains why they played MAMU so often. MAMU was the code for double-cheeseburger, fries and a vanilla shake.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Aug 29, 2011 1:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

Excellent.

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Aug 29, 2011 2:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

naked girl climbing the scaffolding at the Greek...one of the road crew grabbed her, slung her over his shoulder and walked backstage, with her ass in the air and feet kicking ...we figured they fed her to the truck drivers.

We saw a 400lb strip tease...Hartford I think, could have been the Byrne, one of those big east coast echo chambers. Pretty hard on the eyes that one.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Aug 29, 2011 5:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

Seems like I remember Jerry taking a few drags off a Camel here and there, but otherwise, all business. Obviously there were nights when, thanks to his drug habit, Jerry wasn't in any condition to perform (especially in my first few years of seeing the band), but I never saw any obvious drug consumption by any of the band or crew on stage 1983-91. I think most of these stories are similar to urban legends in that people have heard them so often that they SWEAR they either saw it themselves or know someone who did.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 29, 2011 6:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

Well, that’s what I’ve figured … but heck, what do I know? I never sat behind the stage; that would be a neat view, I'd think. I was lucky enough to see them more often in smallish venues than large ones -- I mean thousands of people versus tens of thousands, LOL – and often close up. So they weren’t just distant little puppets.

One really cool if dorky-sounding memory – and I wish I knew which show – is of dancing in the aisle right at the front, just watching Jerry and dancing, and he looked right at me and did that smile-and-nod thing. (Yeah, I know. Big whoop.) But what strikes me is that he had such an ability to connect that I really DID feel that connection, and I still remember it. Now that’s a guy with incredible presence and amazing personal power. Impressive as heck, really.

Naturally I’ve wondered if he really paid attention to folks in the audience or just did the smile-and-nod thing on automatic. I do wish I could narrow down the show or remember the song, but nope. It was before '82 cuz of Jerry’s stage position, but that’s the best I can do.

But that's certainly the most exciting interaction I ever observed :-)





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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 29, 2011 10:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

I think that's true about his ability to personally connect - you'll be telling your grandkids ... he seemed to have a way of making people feel acknowledged or seen.

(no info on stage activities here; unfortunately I only saw them in the tens-of-thousands crowds, and they were tiny puppets on a distant stage)

Seems pretty likely to me they mainly imbibed/puffed etc. whatever they were going to imbibe/puff offstage before or between sets.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 29, 2011 7:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Recollections of Things Seen On Stage

I think we saw shows around the same time, but my guess is that they just played smaller places in the midwest than on the coasts. At least then. I just googled a couple places I saw them more than once -- Cleveland Music Hall and Pittsburgh's Stanley Theater -- and they held about 2,800. The Uptown in Chicago is about 4,300, and wherever you are, it's a nice view.

And sometimes you can just got lucky ... in 1990, at a big arena, I managed to be in the 2nd row. Didn't start out there, but did end up there :-)